Information to help sell your home at top dollar.
This is a long letter, but it is quite informative and helpful. Selling a home is serious business, so I hope you will read my entire letter. The purpose for this writing is to offer my assistance in helping you get your home sold at the highest price the market will bear, and still For-Sale-By-Owner. How will I make this happen? Following are the ways, and ways I will provide additional assistance:
- As a local Realtor for 15 years, my business partner/husband (24 years in real estate) and I are offering to hold your open houses. We have sold many homes while holding open houses, so we will be glad to hold yours at no charge. To be successful, an open house needs to be aggressively promoted. I place up to 20 directional signs because potential buyers drive through neighborhoods where they want to live, and the day before the open house I deliver at least 100 invitations to neighbors because they might have a friend or relative who wants to live in your neighborhood. Also, some neighbors buy nearby real estate investment properties. Why will we hold your open house for free? Because there is a chance that I will meet and represent a buyer of your home or another home. Primarily, however, our goal will be to get your home sold. After your home is sold, perhaps you will hire me to find a good deal for a replacement home.
- Provide tips on marketing and promotion, and how to get the highest price possible. There are inexpensive but good ways for a fsbo to promote, and I will share them with you.
- Provide fresh and accurate comps—to be sure that your home is priced accurately (at true and fair market value) so the price will attract buyers and will help get your home sold quickly. My comps are more accurate than the typical “boilerplate” CMA (comparative market analysis) because I customize comps by carefully studying and analyzing the nearby active and recently sold homes, and include factors other than dollars per sq.ft.
- I will explain and discuss the most important of the 108 paragraphs and sub-paragraphs in the standard California Association of Realtors (CAR) residential purchase agreement (form RPA), including buyer’s cancellation rights, how to handle inspections and repairs, disclosures, and other important items. Also, I will explain how to handle counteroffers, how to negotiate price and terms (who does the repairs, who pays what fees, etc.), and all the required disclosures. One of the most important paragraphs in the purchase agreement is number 11: The property is sold “as-is” in its present physical condition, subject to buyer’s investigation rights. The accepted buyer will have 17 calendar days to do any inspections and other investigating. More than 95% of all real estate transactions use the California Association of Realtors contract because it covers everything, and protects both buyer and seller. Sellers should insist that all offers be only on the 10-page RPA because there is so much missing on other contracts.
- Alert you of any legal requirements when selling a home.
- Analyze offers so you will understand all terms, and to be sure the buyer isn’t trying to take advantage, and to protect your interests 100%.
- Answer any real estate-related questions and concerns.
- Explain the state-mandated disclosures required by all home sellers (fsbos and MLS listings). The 3-page Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) is the primary disclosure, but there are a few more. The title and escrow companies won’t close escrow until all disclosures are signed by both parties and submitted.
Following are a few suggestions that will help sell your home, and will prevent problems:
- Offer to pay for part of the buyer’s closing costs. Many buyers are short on cash after saving money for down payments.
- Have your home in immaculate move-in condition. Most buyers don’t have time or desire to renovate or fix up their new home.
- Be sure the buyer has a loan pre-approval letter. Going further, after an offer is accepted and ratified you should follow-up with the lender every few days during the escrow period to see how the loan processing is progressing. You don’t want to be surprised that the buyer ran into a loan issue which will cause a TFT (transaction fell through). If that happens you will have to start the selling process all over again. This is very common, by the way. So to be safe, regularly check with the lender. Also, you must insist that the buyer provides three items along with his/her offer: 1) Earnest money deposit (EMD) of at least 2% of the offered amount (3% is better). 2) a pre-approval letter. 3) Proof of sufficient funds to cover the down payment and closing costs, or proof to cover an all-cash offer.
- This is optional, but it is attractive and impressive to many buyers. Have your disclosures completed and ready to show to buyers who visit and preview your home. Put a copy on the kitchen counter. Buyers like to know the physical condition of a home they might want to buy. That is why many sellers have property inspections before putting their homes on the market. Then they place a copy of the inspection report on the kitchen counter, along with the disclosures. Most buyers make higher offers on properties when they know what they are buying.
- During showings or an open house don’t leave any valuables (like jewelry) in sight. Some visitors have “sticky fingers.”
- Many fsbo buyers are “bottom fishers” and make lowball offers because they think sellers are saving money by not having to pay a commission (broker fee). They also ask the sellers to pay for all repairs, including termite Section 1 repairs, which includes expensive fumigation (tenting), and dry rot repairs found in bathroom floors. Many real estate investors are just as bad, but they are even trickier. Unscrupulous investors will present an acceptable offer, then wait until close to the end of the default 17 days for the buyer to investigate (inspections, etc.), then present a Request for Repairs form asking the seller to be responsible for all repairs, including termite Section 1 repairs. They will often ask for a huge credit or a price reduction. However, you certainly have the right to refuse. Bu if you refuse, the buyer can cancel and get his/her entire deposit back. The problem for the seller is that the selling process will have to start all over again, which costs money and valuable time.
- One form you should have is a counter offer, because even one item in a buyer's offer that you don't like will need to be countered (unless you decide to accept or reject the offer).
At the risk of appearing to be self-serving, I will mention a few reasons to hire a good Realtor rather than trying to sell on your own:
- Statistics show that homes sold through Realtors sell at higher prices.
- Safety – no worry about who the visitors are, or having to give your address to strangers.
- No worry about whether or not a buyer is qualified or will cancel during the escrow period.
- No worry about people interrupting your homelife by previewing your home.
- No valuable time spent on advertising, promotion, paperwork, or showing your home.
- No concern about overlooking anything. For example, what about all the deadlines in the Contract? If any are not met, the Contract becomes void.
- No concern about anything going wrong with the transaction, or being sued by the buyer after he/she buys your home. It is easy to foul up by overlooking things. Even agents foul up and that is why every agent is required to carry Errors & Omissions (E & O) insurance. That is why I have learned to understand the entire process like the backs of my hands. If I had my adult life to live over again I would be a real estate attorney because there are many lawsuits in this business. Most often it is buyer suing the seller.
Flavia Brown, Realtor®
Realty One Group United
Hermosa Beach and Torrance offices
310-702-6335 (cell/text –assistant)
P.S. My website (homesbyflavia.com) lists ways I provide exemplary service to buyers and sellers. Scroll down the first page just past “My Pledge.”
Feel free to contact me I'd love to hear from you!